What Mac Mini model running OSX server would suit home network?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by appleforumchris, Apr 14, 2014.

  1. appleforumchris macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2014
    #1
    Hey all,

    I bought a simple NAS a while ago have realised that it's not able to centralise data the way I want it to (e.g. using iTunes & iPhoto is a bit of a clunky mess).

    I’m looking to purchase a Mac Mini run OSX server and centralise everything on my home network.

    Can anyone suggest which Mac Mini would be up for the task?

    I've been Googling for a while and can't tell if the 2006 or 07 model be OK or would I need a more recent 2009 one so that I can run Mavericks?

    I have no exposure to OSX Server and have no idea what the differences are between the versions – essentially; I’m looking to get the cheapest Mac Mini that will serve me well without hassle for a good few years.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

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    Aug 7, 2011
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    Illinois
    #2
    If you want to run OS X Server and you don't already have it then you need something that can run Mavericks. The latest version of OS X Server requires it.

    As for which Mini would be your best choice, I can't say. I'm using the Mini in my sig and it it doesn't even break a sweat so you should be able to get away with any Mini that can run Mavericks. My only recommendation would be to run at least 8GB of memory and drop an SSD in if you want to get the best performance out of an older Mini.
     
  3. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #3
    i am in pretty much the same boat as the above poster.

    Though i am not sure if running Mav server is really necessary. it may be just as well if you run ML server...

    In any case it won't be hard to do so do not be too scared of it. here are some resources:

    http://krypted.com/guides/mavericks-server/

    http://yesdevnull.net

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLP9lCFXVZfRNJx3S2dqM3h0NEZ5Xto2iZ

    I would use "yesdevnull"s initial installation guide...


    Also strongly agree with the 8gig of ram and at least a small SSD for OSX (60GB will do - my entire system uses only 42)
     
  4. jazzbo macrumors member

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    Location:
    Bangor, ME
    #4
    Just curious, but for your specific needs mentioned above: sharing iTunes and iPhone, how do you think Mac OS X Server is going to better than your NAS and/or what would server offer for that purpose over base mavericks?
     
  5. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

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    #5

    ML Server is no longer available, which is why I said that if the OP doesn't already have Server then they need Mavericks in order to run the latest version. :)
     
  6. appleforumchris thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 14, 2014
    #6
    Exactly! You would think a NAS would do this job perfectly.

    However I'm starting to realise they tend to be oversold in terms of how compatible they are with Mac. What I've learnt is that when the iTunes library (data, music, videos, device backups) are on the NAS and go through the iTunes application it becomes usably slow. The same with iPhoto, as the library is on the NAS there's this lag as the application accesses data on the network. AFP isn't an open protocol so doesn't work as well as Mac to Mac.

    It doesn't quite work how I expect it to. It seems to require endless workarounds to get the NAS working how I would like and I've realised I could achieve what I need with a Mac Mini. I've mentioned OSX server as this seems to be designed for sharing files seamlessly. (I'm aware it is and feels overkill)

    I might be able to get a Mini with ML server pre-installed - is this the only restriction: ML being discontinued?

    If I had a Mac Mini running ML server would this work OK?

    The 2009 one seems to be the oldest model that will run Mavericks.
     
  7. Schnort macrumors regular

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #7
    Don't blame the NAS. iTunes is a giant turd and always has been.
     
  8. appleforumchris thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 14, 2014
    #8
    Be that as it may i've chosen to be locked in :)apple:) and want it to work as I expect. ;)
     
  9. jazzbo macrumors member

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    Oct 11, 2008
    Location:
    Bangor, ME
    #9
    Note that if you're relying on AFP to be the panacea here that Apple has started to deprecate that protocol in favor of SMB2. With mavericks, the default for mac to mac is SMB2 for most things except time machine and potentially in some far future version of mac os, AFP will go away. Neither issue is an immediate concern, especially if you are looking at older hardware.

    I guess I've been lucky that my Synology NAS seems to work fairly well and haven't noticed a performance hit that affects me enough to want to look at another solution.
     
  10. appleforumchris thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 14, 2014
    #10
    That's good to know, maybe Synology is the way to go. I don't think it's just AFP that's the issue it's more accessing network data within an application like iTunes.

    Hopefully someone can clarify: would ML Server on Mac Mini work? OR would I need the Mavericks version.
     
  11. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 27, 2013
    #11
    well the only other thing (aside of ML availability - which i did not know was an issue, so, sorry about that) to consider there is that the MAV version is quite a bit smoother and more refined than ML, and this is of course only IMHO...

    that being said budgetary restrictions may leave you with no choice, in any case though i'd go here:

    http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_mini/index-macmini.html

    and see which mini's will run MAV and then see how much one would cost...
     
  12. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 28, 2008
    #12
    When you say looking to centralise data then presumably is so that can have

    1 iTunes Library across Multiple Machines
    1 iPhoto Library across Multiple Machines

    You don't need Server for this

    Share iPhoto Library

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1198

    Share iTunes Library using Home Sharing and can access from upto 5 machines

    Or are you also looking for central system for general storage as well.
     
  13. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

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    Illinois
    #13
    Just wanted to toss a couple more comments in here since Synology was brought up. I actually just sold my Synology DS1511+ and my Mini + RAID is taking its place, but that's mainly due to my performance requirements.

    Synology's DSM (OS) has a number of features that make them excellent media servers for home use; Plex, iTunes Server, among other things like a web server, photo sharing, private cloud.

    The difficulty comes when/if you want to install software that they don't have a package for. Yes, it's Linux under the hood but it's not a full Linux distro, it's essentially embedded Linux running BusyBox and the file locations aren't where you'd expect them to be on a normal Linux box. Also, most DSM updates are likely to wipe out anything custom you've done.

    So due to needing better performance and more flexibility in what I run I decided to move away from a NAS and over to a Mini + RAID.

    Performance wasn't horrible with the DS1511+, it just wasn't suited for my usage (Doing more video editing, working with smaller/chunks of files where network latency kills performance). Using a NAS as a media server worked just fine.
     
  14. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    Oregon
    #14
    I've got a late 2009 server model which works fine. I've been using it for 4+ years now. It came with Snow Leopard Server, which is still available. I run lots of services on it (see here but not iTunes which not only doesn't run as a service but is limited to five computers (see my signature).
     
  15. chrfr macrumors 603

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    Jul 11, 2009
    #15
    I've found Mavericks server to be more stable than 10.8.5 Server was, and it adds one really nice feature: the Caching server is great if you have more than one iOS and more than one OS X device on your network. Software and app updates are automatically cached on the server, greatly speeding download time after you've downloaded it once.
     
  16. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

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    #16
    Soooo...where is it available from? :confused:
     
  17. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #17
    You have to call Apple -- it doesn't appear in the store. I looked up: "$20 - USA & Canada: Call 800-MY-APPLE and ask for part number MC588Z/A" Hopefully its still available. Last mention I could find was last July.
     
  18. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

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    Illinois
    #18
    ML and ML Server were the latest, current versions last July. Mavericks wasn't launched until October. ML and ML Server are no longer available to purchase since the launch of Mavericks and Server 3.x, which is what I've been saying all along.

    If you were a PREVIOUS owner of ML and ML Server then they are still available to DOWNLOAD via the App Store via the "Purchases" tab but a NEW purchaser cannot select and purchase the old versions. Why would they want people to do that, especially if they're planning to stop support and EOL those products in the near future?
     
  19. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #19
    I'm answering a request about obtaining Snow Leopard Server (which is only available on DVD), not ML and ML server. Some people like it because 1) it will run on older computers and servers don't need the performance of new systems, 2) it was the last real server (instead of a package of apps that run on the workstation OS) and 3) for people who need Rosetta, which last was in Snow Leopard, Snow Leopard Server can be legally run in a virtual machine so even the latest Macs can still run Power PC apps if necessary.
     
  20. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a

    Yahooligan

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    #20
    Sorry, my eyes missed Snow Leopard and told me ML. My bad.

    That said, security updates, etc have stopped for SL Server. Given the choice, I don't know why someone would want to start out behind the 8-ball. Oh well.
     
  21. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    Oregon
    #21
    In an application where no ports are accessible over the Internet it would be fine. It's arguably the best Server OS Apple ever produced.
     

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